3 Ways to Get to Know Your Congregation…

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For many United Methodist pastors, you’ve just survived your first Sunday at your new church, and are still swimming in boxes as you unpack. Now, you have months and months of getting to know the new congregation you have been appointed to care for. Even if you’re not United Methodist, the process of getting to know a new congregation is daunting.

I want to offer a few insights I’ve learned through getting to know two different congregations. Here are three things for getting to know your congregation better: Continue reading

Care 101

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One of the core skills of being a church member is being able to offer care and comfort to others. And contrary to cultural precedent, this is not the sole responsibility of the pastor. In fact, most “pastoral” care can be offered by non-clergy or laity.

The problem is that many church goers feel under equipped or ill-prepared for those conversations. (As a side note, so do I, despite having literally hundreds of hours of pastoral care visits). So I wanted to offer a few basic steps to offering care to someone you know in your church. These won’t make you a counselor or therapist, but they should help you be a better friend and church member. Some of them are fairly obvious, but worth restating.  Continue reading

Mentor For Life: A Book Review

So, I’ve been reading a lot this year. I have a goal of averaging one book per week. But I had a stark realization in the last couple of weeks. The reading has been helpful, but only to me. The books haven’t really begun impacting my congregation or you readers at all.

So, here is a quick overview of the things I took away from ‘Mentor For Life’ by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. Please note, these are my interpretations and impressions, and so they are subject to my biases.mentor-for-life-book-cover.jpg Continue reading

4 Leadership Lessons from a Piano Bar…

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The other night, I had the chance to go to a dueling piano bar with some colleagues. Here’s how the whole thing works: there are two piano players who take requests. They go back and forth taking the lead on playing these songs. Usually they both play during a song, but sometimes one will take a break.

There were some great lessons in leadership that I watched on display there, and I wanted to share them with you. Continue reading

Swiss Army Pastor…

 

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When I was ten, I got my first Swiss Army knife. It came with a two-inch blade, screwdriver bits, a nail file, bottle opener, and a can opener. It was awesome. I felt like I could do any and everything suddenly. Who needs all of those different screwdrivers from the hardware store? Why even bother getting another can opener? Not only do I have all of those in one tool, but I have all of them IN MY POCKET!

So you can imagine my disappointment when it began to dawn on me that sometimes you do need different screwdrivers.

There are a lot of pastors that try to be a ‘Swiss Army’ pastor. Maybe they feel like the church needs them to be, or they want to be that indispensible, or some combination of both. I think the job of ‘pastor’ is fairly susceptible to developing this ‘all things to all people’ mentality. For starters, there are a wide variety of tasks and skills that pastor need to have in order to do their job well. I mean, a day can consist of researching 6th century Mesopotamia for a sermon, visiting homebound, and helping draft a budget proposal, all before a worship team meeting later that night.

So here are some thoughts on pastors being the churches Swiss Army Knives of ministry: Continue reading